SUPA’s 40th Anniversary
|In 1972-1973 SUPA offered five SU introductory courses in nine schools to more than 400 students.Today, 38 courses are offered to 9,400 students in 184 schools—across five states and three continents!
“SUPA’s growth over these past 40 years hasn’t just been a matter of posting ever-rising enrollment numbers,” says Dr. Gerald Edmonds, SUPA director. “We have striven to add key enhancements that contribute to the intellectual growth of students, the professional development of teachers, and the strengthening of learning communities within schools.
“Our ‘enhanced concurrent enrollment program’ model includes developing learning strategies workshops, making available the latest online instructional tools, and providing assistance to schools with administrative and evaluation functions whenever we can.”
|Click image to read about SUPA’s 40th anniversary from former students, teachers, and administrators.
Or download the PDF.
In 1972 six Central New York high school administrators approached Syracuse University about establishing a college readiness program to challenge high school seniors.
The administrators hoped to address growing concerns about “senioritis”—the tendency of college-bound seniors to not take their final year seriously because of a lack of incentive. Having completed their graduation requirements early, these students would use their senior year to relax and socialize rather than readying themselves for the transition from high school to college-level work.
A Working Model
To solve the problem presented by the school superintendents, SU administrators explored ways in which carefully designed and controlled “concurrent enrollment” (sometimes called “dual enrollment”) courses could be taught for credit within the high school as part of the regular academic program. A committee of deans, academic chairmen, and faculty discussed multiple solutions before proposing a college readiness program that would be self-sufficient and capable of implementation and expansion without creating a financial burden for the university or an instructional overload for cooperating faculty.
The model was designed to best utilize existing resources—the college courses would be taught by trained high school teachers as part of their regular teaching load. This would ensure that the courses could be taught during the regular school day, so as to not negatively impact students’ schedules.
Early in the design process three major factors became apparent:
- First, that while an effort would be made to utilize individual high school resources, individual concurrent enrollment courses would—based on their content and structure—involve different formats and require new relationships between SU faculty, high school faculty, and students;
- Second, the success of the project would depend on the quality of the concurrent enrollment courses themselves;
- Third, the courses taught in the high schools would not only have the same instructional goals as their counterparts on campus but they would have identical criteria for awarding grades.
Teaching the Teachers
The high school-university partnership was formalized as SU Project Advance (SUPA) and launched its first dual enrollment course, English 101, in the fall semester of 1972-73. Following a detailed evaluation and development process, four additional courses were selected for possible inclusion inSUPA. These included introductory psychology, study of religion (human values), mass communications, and perspectives on drugs.
In preparation for the initial introduction of concurrent enrollment courses in the high schools, summer training sessions were held in each of the five content areas to prepare high school teachers to teach the college-level courses. These training sessions were taught by university professors and were designed to familiarize the high school teachers with the rationale and content of the new courses, the instructional techniques, and the individualized materials, as well as offer them opportunities to explore methods of adapting them to high school use if changes seemed necessary.
Taking It to the Schools
Field-tested in the 1973-74 academic year in nine schools, the project expanded in 1974-75 to more than 40 schools and 180 teachers from Long Island to Buffalo, with an enrollment of more than 2,000 students. As more educators, students, and parents realized the value of college readiness and of taking actual college courses before leaving high school, the program grew.
Today, SUPA serves more than 200 high schools in New York, New Jersey, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Rhode Island, with the largest concentration in New York State. Approximately 8,000 students enroll annually in SU courses, taught by more than 750 high school faculty members with SU adjunct instructor appointments. Teachers continue to attend professional development training sessions at the annual SUPA Summer Institute as more and more high schools expand their academic offerings. The course selection has also grown to include SU 38 courses from 19 academic disciplines.
Due to its leadership and innovation in creating such an outstanding concurrent enrollment program, Project Advance has served as a model for similar programs at such institutions as Indiana University, the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, and the University of Minnesota.
SUPA is the only program affiliated with a private research university in the Northeast to be accredited by the National Alliance of Concurrent Enrollment Partnerships (NACEP). SUPA is also a founding member of NACEP, which serves as a national accrediting body and supports all members by providing standards of excellence, research, communication, and advocacy.
SUPA is continuously evaluating the quality of dual enrollment services it provides to students, parents, high school administrators, teachers, and university faculty. SUPA’s commitment to professional development means high school teachers receive access to exclusive training sessions at the Summer Institute that help them stay current in their fields and explore new and innovative educational techniques. Every year, more courses are being fed through the developmental pipeline and field-tested for potential inclusion in a high school curriculum. The program is expanding rapidly as educators realize the importance of a rigorous transition from high school to college.
SUPA has been honored by the following organizations:
- American Association for Higher Education & Accreditation
- Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
- National Commission on Excellence in Education
- US National Institute of Education
- New York State Assembly